The Search for Alien Life

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Dr Lewis Dartnell


'Astrobiology' is a brand new field of science, encompassing research into the origins and limits of life on our own planet, and where life might exist beyond the Earth. But what actually is 'life' and how did it emerge on our own world? What are the most extreme conditions terrestrial life can tolerate? And what would an alien actually look like - how realistic are the life-forms envisaged by science fiction novels and films over the years? Join Dr. Lewis Dartnell on a tour of the other planets and moons in our solar system which may harbour life, and even further afield to alien worlds orbiting distant stars, to explore one of the greatest questions ever asked: are we alone...?

Based at the Centre for Mathematics & Physics in the Life Sciences and Experimental Biology of UCL, his research is on the possibility of microbial life surviving in the surface dust of Mars in the face of the constant rain of radiation from space. He has written a computer model to simulate the penetration of space radiation and run laboratory experiments on bacteria isolated from Antarcica. His first book, Life in the Universe: A Beginner's Guide was  published in 2007.